“New,” “good” and “bad” politicians

24 01 2018

General Prayuth Chan-ocha, The Dictator since May 2014, recently announced that he is a “politician.” This announcement that he had joined the ranks of those he despises was his formal announcement of what has been known for a very long time: he wants to continue as premier for years and years.

Politicians are not renowned for their judgement of political mood. Many make awful decisions in the face of public opinion that demands something else. They usually pay a price for this poor judgement.

The Dictator-cum-politician will likely pay a steep political price for his failure to deal with General Prawit Wongsuwan’s poor judgement in the ongoing luxury timepiece scandal. Prawit, who is Prayuth’s mentor, former boss and elder military brother, is politically a dead man walking.

But Prayuth closes his eyes and ears and exhibits military “Thai-ness” remaining “loyal” and doing his “duty” to his boss/brother. But, by toughing out the political storm, the regime’s political capital is being rapidly depleted, and especially among its faithful anti-democratic supporters. The latter seem to consider the junta as crossing the line between “good” and “bad” in their middle class definitions of “Thai-ness.”

The military junta adds to that perception by allowing the judiciary to activate a case against Suthep Thaugsuban’s anti-democrats. While this may be as much about political bargaining for an “election” arrangement, many yellow shirts consider Prayuth’s electoral wheeling and dealing as having too much to do with previous Thaksin Shinawatra supporters and the legal case confirms the junta’s moves to the “bad” – downright evil – side of political “Thai-ness.”

“Thai-ness” and “good” and “bad” are slippery concepts but they are also political notions that can be redefined. The military junta is precipitously falling from an anti-democrat “good” to “bad.”

As Prayuth, Prawit and the third of the three stooges, General Anupong Paojinda, cross that line, days their political days are numbered.


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28 01 2018
Sparks beginning to fly | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] sufficient political cleansing. More disappointment comes from the decisions by the junta to allow legal pursuit of PAD and the People’s Democratic Reform Committee. Such legal cases are not just a […]

28 01 2018
Sparks beginning to fly | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] sufficient political cleansing. More disappointment comes from the decisions by the junta to allow legal pursuit of PAD and the People’s Democratic Reform Committee. Such legal cases are not just a […]